Steps to an uncluttered, productive home office by Paisley Hansen
Home offices can become catch-alls for things that do not really belong there. When they end up cluttered, it can be distracting and interfere with productivity. That interference can be in the form of logistically getting in the way. Alternately, it can be in the form of being visually distracting. Here are some steps to get the clutter under control.
The first thing to do is start four piles:
- 1) Throw out
- 2) Give away or sell
- 3) Keep but relocate
- 4) Keep in the actual office
Start in one corner and work around in a logical fashion so as to not get confused about what has been sorted through and what has not been sorted through. After throwing out the things that belong in the trash, getting rid of the things that need to go and relocating things that belong elsewhere in the home, what remains should be a great deal easier to work with. In fact, that alone should make the place a lot less cluttered.
Whatever remains needs to be organized. Before you run out and buy anything to get organized, just start with grouping like items together. Put all books together, all files together, all pens or art supplies together and so on. This will begin to make it clear if there are enough file folders, if there is enough space in the file cabinet, if there is enough shelf space and so on.
If there are files, they need to be filed in a manner that makes sense for how many files there are as well as for how they are used in practice. For example, some files might be accessed regularly, in which case a small file box on the desk might be the best solution for those specific files. Other files may be accessed less often, in which case a regular file cabinet might work fine. Make sure there are enough shelves for books and generally provide the correct type of storage for each of the items used in the office. A good rule of thumb for getting organized and staying organized is: “A place for everything and everything in its place.”
Plan before you shop
If, after everything has been surveyed and catalogued, the office needs more furniture or more organizers, think about the overall look you are going for and do some planning. Since the point is the make the place look uncluttered, having uncluttered lines can help with the visual part of that. Simply having everything physically organized may not, by itself, make it look uncluttered. For some people, the visual clutter is distracting and problematic. If new purchases are needed to get the place properly organized, it is a great time to go ahead and make sure things are clean-lined. It doesn’t necessarily have to cost any extra to make a particular style choice.
Consider making some minor modifications to existing fixtures
Whether or not you need to buy anything new, if your current cabinetry, office door and other fixtures are just failing to be adequately visually uncluttered, it may be possible to modify them in order to get more of the look and feel you want. For example, new barn door hardware could change the entry door from a swinging door to a pocket door, freeing up floor space and making the door and the whole room both look less cluttered. Cabinet knobs or handles could be replaced with new hardware that fits in better with the look you desire.
It might take a bit of time and effort to get the uncluttered office of your dreams, but it will be well worth it. After the office gets put back together, you will be even more productive.